State Department issues ‘do not travel’ warnings over Omicron risks

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State Department issues 'do not travel' warnings over Omicron risks

The US State Department on Saturday formally warned Americans against traveling to South Africa and seven of its neighbors for fear of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

The Level 4 “do not travel” advisories were applied to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, Eswatini and Botswana, one day after President Biden issued a travel ban on flights originating in those same countries to begin Monday.

The State Department reserves Level 4 advisories for nations where Americans could face “greater likelihood of life-threatening risks,” according to its website — usually due to dangers like terrorism, violent crime, and civil unrest.

The department issued Level 4 warnings on Nov. 22 for travel to Germany and Denmark in the wake of record COVID surges there.

 International passengers walk through the arrivals area at Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport
The State Department issued a Level 4 “do not travel” advisory for South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, Eswatini and Botswana over the Omicron COVID variant.
Leon Neal/Getty Images

Starting Monday, the US will not allow flights originating in South Africa and its seven neighbors to land at American airports in an effort to slow the spread of the highly transmissible virus variant.

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